Friday, December 30, 2011

Which one sucks? UPS or Wine Country Gift Baskets

This is just a little noise to vent some frustration about a gift that was sent to me via UPS by Wine Country Gift Baskets.  Two of the numbers in the address were transposed (2345 was supposed to be 2354) and that little error caused the entire delivery to fail.  That part was a failure of UPS to hire a driver with any common sense. 

UPS then sent a post card to the same address they failed to find for delivery, which makes sense to only in a parallel universe where the US Postal Service hires people who are smarter than the staff at UPS.  The post card was delivered (I assume randomly) to one of my neighbors.  Everything but the street number was correct so I guess the postal service just approached the inaccuracy with more apathy than UPS.

My neighbor, who is apparently smarter than the UPS driver or the USPS, found us by looking for the nearest permutation of the address number, and matching that to our last name in the phone directory.  I wonder why these investigation techniques are well outside the grasp of someone who is hired for the sole purpose of getting a package to its destination.

The postcard said UPS was holding the package at their facility until they received a corrected address from the sender or the package was picked up at my inconvenience and expense.  It didn't say exactly that, but that's what it meant.  My wife tried to call UPS but was treated very rudely by the sullen UPS phone operator who really should be replaced by someone who actually cares about the work they do.  Apparently I'm not alone in dealing with the sudden failure of once-reliable UPS this holiday season.  Reports of UPS failing or refusing to deliver packages were all over the local news the past few day too.  Here's hoping Fedex or some other shipping company takes enough of the UPS market share over this fiasco that all the people responsible get fired and have to move into an apartment complex with poorly marked unit numbers so _they_ never get any packages sent to _them_.

But, UPS may not be the only failure.  In an attempt to help the brain-dead UPS driver complete his/her mission, I contacted Wine Country Gift Baskets (the sender) so that they could give UPS the corrected street number for the address.  That seemed to go well enough the first time.  They told me that UPS had been contacted and the package would be delivered a few days later.  That day came and went with no package, so I contacted Wine Country Gift Baskets again.  That time they said there was an "issue" getting UPS to re-attempt delivery of the package, and then I was abruptly cut off (online chat session).

So I called Wine Country Gift Baskets again and pressed a bit to learn that the "issue" with UPS was the Wine Country Gift Baskets agent never actually contacted UPS to correct the address and request a second delivery attempt.  During that call, I was assured that UPS had now been contacted and given the corrected street number.  The tracking information on the UPS site didn't change, so either UPS ignored the request or Wine Country Gift Baskets again didn't bother to _really_ contact UPS and make the request.  The Wine Country Gift Baskets agent was either lying to me so I would shrug and forget all about it, or they were just passing along the lie UPS told them.

At a week or so after the package should have been delivered, the "return to sender" deadline had arrived, and the tracking UPS information still said they needed the sender to correct the delivery addres, so I concluded that Wine Country Gift Baskets had once again failed to fix the UPS issue.  Since I needed to run other errands in the area where UPS was holding the package, I just gave up and took the postcard in to claim the package.  Nothing had changed from the original status.  There were no notes in the UPS system indicating that the sender (Wine Country Gift Baskets) had contacted them or that the address had been corrected.  The package was still sitting on a shelf waiting to be sent back to Wine Country Gift Baskets.  In retrospect, I should have just let UPS send it back so that Wine Country Gift Baskets would have to start over (at their expense), or refund what they charged for the unfulfilled gift order, or at least add another count to their own UPS failure rate statistics.

The two conclusions I draw from this are, 1. UPS hires morons that cannot be expected to take even the simplest steps to figure out a small error in a delivery address.  2. UPS probably has apathetic, useless people in their call center who don't really bother themselves to correct an addressing error when the sender requests it, or maybe Wine Country Gift Baskets hired those people instead, or maybe both.

Based on this experience, whenever I have a choice, I won't use UPS for shipping, and I won't order anything from Wine Country Gift Baskets.  I recommend others do the same unless they just like to be treated poorly.  If Wine Country Gift Baskets reads this and cares, I'd love to hear that they've cancelled their contract with UPS for shipping.  I might even consider ordering something from them if they bother to fix the problem.  Not holding my breath though.

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